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MARCH 2016


Title I—The Foreign Service of the United States

Chapter 1—General Provisions

Section 101. Findings and Objectives

(a) The Congress finds that—

(1) a career foreign service, characterized by excellence

and professionalism, is essential in the national interest to

assist the President and the Secretary of State in conducting

the foreign affairs of the United States;

(2) the scope and complexity of the foreign affairs

of the Nation have heightened the need for a professional

foreign service that will serve the foreign affairs interests of

the United States in an integrated fashion and that can pro-

vide a resource of qualified personnel for the President, the

Secretary of State, and the agencies concerned with foreign


(3) the Foreign Service of the United States, established

under the Act of May 24, 1924 (commonly known as the Rog-

ers Act), and continued by the Foreign Service Act of 1946,

must be preserved, strengthened, and improved in order to

carry out its mission effectively in response to the complex

challenges of modern diplomacy and international relations;

(4) the members of the Foreign Service should be rep-

resentative of the American people, aware of the principles

and history of the United States and informed of current

concerns and trends in American life, knowledgeable of the

affairs, cultures, and languages of other countries, and avail-

able to serve in assignments throughout the world; and

(5) the Foreign Service should be operated on the basis

of merit principles.

(b) The objective of this chapter is to strengthen and

improve the Foreign Service of the United States by—

(1) assuring, in accordance with merit principles,

admission through impartial and rigorous examination,

acquisition of career status only by those who have demon-

strated their fitness through successful completion of proba-

tionary assignments, effective career development, advance-

ment and retention of the ablest, and separation of those

who do not meet the requisite standards of performance;

(2) fostering the development and vigorous imple-

mentation of policies and procedures, including affirmative

action programs, which will facilitate and encourage (A)

entry into and advancement in the Foreign Service by per-

sons from all segments of American society, and (B) equal

opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all without

regard to political affiliation, race, color, religion, national

origin, sex, marital status, age, or handicapping condition;

(3) providing for more efficient, economical, and equi-

table personnel administration through a simplified struc-

ture of Foreign Service personnel categories and salaries;

(4) establishing a statutory basis for participation by

the members of the Foreign Service, through their elected

representatives, in the formulation of personnel policies and

procedures which affect their conditions of employment,

and maintaining a fair and effective system for the resolu-

tion of individual grievances that will ensure the fullest mea-

sure of due process for the members of the Foreign Service;

(5) minimizing the impact of the hardships, disrup-

tions, and other unusual conditions of service abroad upon

the members of the Foreign Service, and mitigating the

special impact of such conditions upon their families;

(6) providing salaries, allowances, and benefits that

will permit the Foreign Service to attract and retain quali-

fied personnel as well as a system of incentive payments and

awards to encourage and reward outstanding performance;

(7) establishing a Senior Foreign Service which is

characterized by strong policy formulation capabilities, out-

standing executive leadership qualities, and highly devel-

oped functional, foreign language, and area expertise;

(8) improving Foreign Service managerial flexibility

and effectiveness;

(9) increasing efficiency and economy by promoting

maximum compatibility among the agencies authorized by

law to utilize the Foreign Service personnel system, as well

as compatibility between the Foreign Service personnel sys-

tem and other personnel systems of the Government; and

(10) otherwise enabling the Foreign Service to serve

effectively the interests of the United States and to provide

the highest caliber of representation in the conduct of for-

eign affairs.



Public Law 96-465, Oct. 17, 1980